Theology Thursday: God's Eternal Past

* Infinite Past: Why is it so difficult for us to grasp the concept of God having an infinite past? Bob explains on this week's Theology Thursday.

* Years Later: Years after the message broadcast on today's Theology Thursday, Bob Enyart updated our article regarding the misconception that God cannot cross an actual infinity. That fun article now ends with this: 

God has existed through the "beginningless past" (Morriston, 2010, Faith and Philosophy, pp. 439-450). Christian theologians who object to this typically do so by being inconsistent, and thus, their objection is easily neutralized, and then answered. For example, William Lane Craig denies that God has existed throughout time immemorial, infinitely into the past, because he claims that even God cannot cross an actual infinity. (Aristotle, for example, claimed that the infinite is never actual; he however, did not know God.) Yet while Craig doesn't admit it, he himself believes that God has crossed an actual infinity. His belief that God has exhaustive foreknowledge of a kingdom that never ends requires divine knowledge of an infinite future, with this knowledge comprised of actual thoughts in God's mind. (This would be like God having counted to infinity.) Further, because Craig happens to hold the untenable and rather grotesque belief that God knows every possible future, that philosophical claim requires God to cross an infinite number of actual infinities. Instead, in actuality, God has crossed the single infinity of the beginningless past. Using a typically unstated assumption, an argument against God's "beginningless past" insists that He could not have crossed an infinite past because regardless of how much time has actually passed, "infinity" would require passage of even more time to arrive at any given moment. The unstated assumption in this objection however is that it assumes its conclusion, namely, that this past period must have had a beginning (for this objection asserts that this past period is of finite duration). If there is a valid systematic theology against God crossing an actual infinity, it would not support a philosophical claim that contradicts its own system, and it will not merely assume its conclusion. Let's consider an analogy from geometry and then an excuse from mathematics. Using an analogy, not as a proof but as an illustration, a geometrical line is infinite in both directions, whereas a ray has a terminal point yet is infinite in one direction. For our analogy, the ray extends through eternity past and is terminated in God's present, which is where God lives (in the fullness of time, so to speak). Relatedly, perhaps there is an excuse for theologians who failed to understand all this, who lived prior to mathematician Georg Cantor (d. 1918), who taught the world that it was possible to form infinite sets greater than other infinite sets. So, if God had already existed for eternity past at the moment of creation (an infinite set of moments), by the time of the Incarnation, He had then existed for an even longer infinite set of moments. For, He must increase. (Prior to Cantor the world of mathematics never accepted the concept of greater infinity.) And finally, God put eternity into our hearts. Yet unlike God, our life is not endless in two directions but only in one, namely, into the future. So you are like a "ray" that begins at a point (of conception) and then proceeds forever (Eccl. 3:11). Therefore, our eternal soul provides for us a context in which we can develop a gut feel for what it means to live forever (throughout eternity future). Yet we lack the divine intestinal fortitude, so to speak, which we would need in order to relate to His beginningless past. Thus, by the Scriptural teachings regarding time (see and because time could not have been created (see, therefore we teach that God's goings forth are from of old, from everlasting, from ancient times, the everlasting God who continues forever, from before the ages of the ages, He who is and who was and who is to come, who remains forever, the everlasting Father, whose years never end, from everlasting to everlasting, and of His kingdom there will be no end. 

* Indianapolis March 7 SeminarEvidence Against the Big Bang 

Seminar by Bob Enyart
Indianapolis, IN
Location TBA
Saturday, March 7th
Registration at 12:30 
1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

This is a Benefit Event to Raise Funds to keep BEL on the air organized by our Indianapolis listeners! Registration $100; children free. If you can't afford the registration, instead of clicking, please call 1-800-8Enyart and ask for our Workin' Man's discount! :)